The annual call for new topics in now open
We welcome you to propose a new health condition for a screening programme that is not already considered by the UK NSC.
Please download the form and read the guidance at the end of this link to make a proposal.
The deadline for submissions is 16th December 2018. For more information please see this blog.
Current UK NSC recommendations > Postnatal depression

The UK NSC recommendation on Postnatal depression screening in pregnancy

Recommendation Systematic population screening programme not recommended, clinical practice guidelines covered by NICE
Last review completed December 2011
Next review due in 2014/15
Key downloads

A screening programme for postnatal depression is not recommended.

The development of postnatal depression is complex. There is a lack of clarity on the population to be identified by screening and evidence that the use of current screening tools cannot identify risk with sufficient accuracy.  There is also insufficient evidence that universal screening and subsequent intervention improve the health outcomes for the mother or the baby.

However, as part of a comprehensive clinical assessment, health professionals should be alert to the possibility of postnatal depression and manage it according to current guidance.


Find general information about population health screening.

More about Postnatal depression

As many as eight out of 10 women get what's known as the 'baby blues'. It normally begins within a few days of the birth, and common symptoms include bursting into tears for no reason, or feeling fantastic one minute and miserable the next. Fortunately, the symptoms only last for a short time.

If you become more unhappy or upset, or if your low mood lasts longer than a week, you might have postnatal depression.

Postnatal depression affects one in 10 new mums.

» Read more about postnatal depression on NHS Choices

» See also the UK NSC policy on depression


Association for Improvements in the Maternity Services
The British Psychological Society
Faculty of Public Health
• Insitute of Health Visiting
Royal College of General Practitioners
Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists
Royal College of Physicians
Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow
Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh
Royal College of Psychiatrists

The stakeholder groups will be involved when the recommendation is next reviewed. If you think your organisation should be added, please contact us. More information for stakeholders can be found in appendix C of the UK NSC evidence review process.

Related documents

icon Postnatal depression policy review summary (PDF document, 157KB, 15/12/11)

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